Issues of Land Ownership Status In Indonesia

17 June 2013


Land has become the most popular commodities in the modern era. Land transformed as a product which continues growing up in value and never expanding in areas. Land has claimed as one proof of sovereignty and state power as well as an excuse to wage war on border related. In some country, land has become source of life (for agriculture, plantation, forestry, mining, etc), but in other side land has become the most effective weapon for create conflict.

Indonesia has a large area consist of thousand islands from Sumatra to Papua and has much kind of ethnics, religion, traditional language and culture. There is a lot of difference in each of the provinces and cities in Indonesia in the physical and social-economic condition. Sometimes, the Central government has decided many policies but not comply with the policies in the local government. The differences in policies to be one of great factors in land ownership status problems in Indonesia.


Regulation of Land Status

The system of land ownership in Indonesia has characteristics of the system of land ownership in the Dutch and traditional land ownership systems. That's because Indonesia was colonized by Dutch for 350 years and indirectly took some influences in land ownership system. UUPA No. 5 year 1960 has been using for basics regulation in land ownership system Indonesia since 1960, but application of this legislation has not consistent properly until now. UUPA 1960 has designed for manage land ownership by State and land ownership by inviduals, included land ownership by customary (tanah adat).          Based on Legislations of Republic of Indonesia No. 5 Year 1960 for Regulation of Basic Principles Agrarian (UUPA No. 5 Tahun 1960), there are several types of land ownership, as follows;   

  1. Hak milik (HM) is hereditary rights, the strongest and fullest that can be allocated to person on land. 
  2. Hak guna-usaha (HGU) is the rights to cultivate the land directly controlled by the State, within the period mentioned in Article 29 (pasal 29), for agriculture, fisheries or livestock. 
  3. Hak guna-bangunan (HGB) is the right to establish and own the buildings on land which not his own, with a maximum period of 30 years. 
  4. Hak pakai (HP) is right to use and / or collect the outcome (product) of the land directly controlled by the State or others land owned which gives authority and the obligation specified in the decision of administration by the competent authority to give or in agreement with the land owner, which is not a lease or agreement tillage, the origin of all things not contrary to the spirit and provisions of this legislation. 
  5. Hak sewa, a person or company to use the land for building purposes and paying a sum of money to land owners.

But, there are known land status as the traditional land ownership in Indonesia, some of them are as follows;

  1. Surat Keterangan Desa (SKD) is permit granted given to individuals from village government based on the history buying and selling of the lands. 
  2. Akta Jual Beli (AJB) is proof of buying and selling activities that can be used to make land certificate.
  3. Surat Izin Menggarap (SIM) is permit granted to individuals who work as farmers to cultivate the land for agricultural purposes. 
  4. Surat Girik (SG) is used for indigenous-owned lands or arable land. The document is actually not a proof of ownership, but rather a tax payment of PBB (Land and Building Tax). This merely can prove that the holder of the document is the person who controlled or use the land, which should be given the right on land. According to land regulation, the holder of girik (the original) is recognized by the law as evidence of ownership in order to create certificate of land (article 24 explanations  for PP No. 31 of 1997 on land registration). From the above sense, it can be inferred that the girik is not a proof of ownership over land, but merely proof that the owner of land controlled the customary land and as taxpayers on such plots of land with buildings on the above (if it exist). So, Girik cannot be equated with a right certificate on land.

These land ownership status is not legal land status, but in other hand can be proof for applying land legal status at BPN (Badan Pertanahan Indonesia).


Issues and Conflict

In the period 1960 up to the end of “Orde Baru” era (1998), Indonesia has the political upheaval resulting in unstable system that regulates of land ownership and access to control the land. These condition was hit Indonesia about issues and problems in land ownership and land use control. In general, issues and problems can be explained by 2 times period, before the end of “Orde Baru” era (1998) and after that period. Since UUPA 1960 officially used to legitimate land control in 1960 up to the end of “Orde Baru” era (1998), there are several issues ; a) Social-conflict of land ownership b) Structural-conflict c) Dualism of regulation for land use planning. Besides it, the issues after “Orde Baru “ era was the accumulation of  anger of people’s and occurred the outbreak of riots in some districts in Indonesia. Social-conflict in this case means that the land in the State is not distributes evenly, especially for farmers. There were several groups of farmers who have a vast land, while others have a very narrow field. Imbalances of ownership of the land created social-jealously and “land hunger”. Structural conflicts occurred when the owners of capital or government imposing its will to seize people's lands purpose of national development. At this stage, implementation of UUPA 1960 has been irrelevance by the government concerning the rights of people to own and manage the land, especially the land who own by traditional people’s. UUPA 1960 has guaranteed land ownership by traditional people’s, but in fact, traditional people’s have been losing their right to own the land. During “Orde Baru” era until the end in 1998, UUPA 1960 received conflict from the other regulation which governments prioritized national development and export competitiveness, such as Regulation for Mining, Regulation for Transmigration, Regulation for Forestry, and etc. Indonesia's government took the policies to increase foreign exchange through the results of mining, forestry, and investment and infrastructure construction. But on the other hand, Indonesian government ignored the rights of traditional communities over land ownership and priority objectives of each government department (ego-sectoral). That means, dualism of regulation to manage and owned the land will be destructing the system and the people’s was disadvantaged.



Indonesian government has tried to improve the system of land by created new regulations that will unify the previous regulations regarding land, TAP MPR No. IX Year 2001 for Agrarian Reform and Natural Resource Management. TAP MPR No. IX Year 2001 took on role as the solution of various problems of land during the period 1966-2001 in all around of Indonesia. Consortium for Agrarian Reform stated that during 1970-2001 has occurred 1.753 cases of land disputes for total area of ??10.9 Ha and includes the 1.2 million victims of family. Mostly, conflict of land occurs vertically, between the people’s and the government (state corporation/BUMN) or private parties. And to this day, people’s are the most disadvantaged.

TAP MPR No. IX Year 2001 aims for review to all the rules, policies and regulations of the land and rearrangement of ownership of land, land use and advantage of land (land reform). Furthermore, TAP MPR No. IX Year 2001 used to basis to find solution and resolve the multidimensional land conflict. UU No. 12 Tahun 2011 tentang pembentukan Peraturan Perudang-undangan(Legislation for Regulation and Legislation Forming) defined that TAP MPR has a position under UUD 1945 in Hierarchy of Laws in Indonesia.